Four years had passed, and I had trained to the upmost of my ability during that time. I was starting to get impatient — Remington had said that it would take me four years at the most to train for my mission — but now as I was nearing my fifth year of training, I was starting to wonder if he had been lying — or if that mission was even a real mission. Maybe he’d lied to me in order to get me to train well, so that he could have some fun in trying to kill me?
I sat down on a bench outside overlooking the fencing area. Though swords were not the most preferred method of combat, the academy still taught it for cases of extremities where perhaps we would have to use those skills in self-defense.
I hated fencing, though. Though no one could beat me at it, I could remember with disgust a time when I had first been learning it, and had been bested by a girl — the annoying Natalia Atticus at that! Though I could win against her any day now, she constantly reminded me that she had once beat me in front of the whole school.
I sighed as I saw her approaching. Maybe she could read my mind?
“Heya Ainslie.” Natalia sat down beside me in her green uniform. “Raidon wants to see you.”
“Where is he at?” I grumbled, then glared at her. “And stop calling me Ainslie!”
“He’s in your room — Ainslie,” she slyly added on, grinning at me, as if she were daring me to slap her.
I stared at her for a moment, then took a deep breath. She was only trying to annoy me… “Thanks,” I decided to now ignore her play on my name in order not to give her the satisfaction of knowing that she was irritating me. Though she probably already knew she was. I stood up, and went in.
Things were quiet inside. Most of the kids were either in classes, or outside practicing or talking. I liked it when it was quiet. I could think better, and didn’t get so distracted or fed up with others.
My shoes clicked on the shiny cement floor as I walked from the large foyer into the long hallway. Our room was about halfway down on the left, and I could’ve walked to it blindfolded if I’d wanted to, and still found it. I had the number of steps it took to get down to it memorized thanks to Raidon, who, for the longest time, had tried to count the steps and only made it to thirty before forgetting where he was and getting distracted with something else. It had annoyed me so much that finally I had just gone out and done it myself, just so that he would stop walking like a snail so that he could count his steps every time we exited the room.
I opened the door, and stepped in, closing it softly behind me. Then I turned around, and dropped my mouth.
Raidon always had an obsession with collecting little wooden figures. Whether they were animals, people, objects, or buildings, he had to get them. And he had a habit of setting them up all in a nice line, no matter where it led. And with all the wooden figures he’d collected over the years, that could make a very nice long line.
Before me, in my room, Raidon was on the floor, setting up the last of his figures. They spread from his desk, to the floor, over to mine, on the window sill, our dressers, beds, and all over the floor.
“Raidon Zainab!” I cried. “What are you — I can’t even step into the room without stepping on one of your silly figures!”
He looked up. “Hey! How do you like them?! I have a total of one thousand, five hundred and twenty-eight! Impressive, eh?”
“More like depressive,” I grumbled. “If you get any more of these figures, then I’m going to have to move into another room! Now pick them up, and put them back into their totes and put them in the closet!”
Raidon sighed as he looked at all his hard work of setting up figures, before swooping his arm across a line of them, and making an explosion sound. “They just got blown away!”
I rolled my eyes as I stepped carefully over his figures. I couldn’t help but step on a couple, but as they were wooden, they didn’t break. I reached my desk and shoved the figures off of it. “What’d you need me for?” I started fiddling with a few pieces of wire that were on my desk.
Raidon shrugged, as he scooped his figures up and dumped them into his totes. “Mr. Remington says he wants to see me and you tomorrow in a private meeting. We’re not to tell anyone about it. And you know how awful I am at keeping secrets…”
As he went on talking, I didn’t hear what he was saying. My heart barely stopped when he had said private meeting. I must be ready for my mission! And then Mai would be freed, and I could make an escape plan for myself! Soon and very soon, I’d be out of this rotten place! We both would be!
I wondered about my sister. Had she kept her promise, and remembered me, and how much I loved her? Where was she? Was she all right? Or had Mr. Remington lied to me about her, and really terminated her as he had threatened?
I didn’t want to think of that, and I shook my head, bringing myself back to the present.
“…and that’s why I had Natalia come and get you, and that’s why I stayed in and was setting up my figures!” He shut the lid on his last tote, shoved them into the closet, and leaned up against the closet door in effort to jam it shut. “Hey! Cool!” He then scampered over to me. “What’s that?” He looked at the wire in my hand that I had twisted while I had been thinking.
I shrugged, looking down at the wires I had twisted together. Now that I thought of it, it would be perfect for my newest invention, some sort of smoke bomb. Still, I couldn’t let Raidon know that. “It’s nothing. So, tomorrow is our meeting?”
“Yep. Our secret meeting!”
I sighed, anxious to start on the mission. The quicker I got it done, the quicker Mai would be freed, and the quicker I would get to escape. I knew I’d be impatient the rest of the day if I didn’t find something to preoccupy my time, thus I set to cleaning the room with a vigor.